How to get your online Community Marketing for you

Marketing gold is everywhere; we just need to know where to dip our pans. Anytime you have the chance to hear what clients are saying to and about what you do is an indicator to {insert pan here}. The survey I recently conducted through Qualtrics offered me the chance to gain some enlightening insight as to:

  1. How people consume visuals to tell a marketing story.
  2. How they feel about marketing with companies rather than being marketed at.

At first glance visuals and community marketing strategies seem to be at two ends of the marketing spectrum. This is what I’m hoping to clarify; through discovering how much these two concepts truly intersect when creating a trusting community passionate about advocating your brand.

The following is raw data from 31 participants. Do with it what you will, but my goal is to inspire action to build an online community so loyal, so vocal, that they basically market for you.

Visual Results:

I chose {PHOTO 3} specifically in order to see what kinds of results came from a lack of verbal cues. I wanted to know if branding using only visuals were strong enough to make an impact. Results were as follows.

The heat sensing map shows where the eyes are drawn. It’s clear that pops of color and central symmetry are the first things that catch observers’ attention. Keep in mind those are the things that are creating a judgment of what is being viewed.

65% were able to immediately identify the brand with no text. {It’s Starbucks by the way}

What was the main message?

54% said the message caused them to get excited about fall

40% said they thought of having a latte’ with friends

2% were skeptical that they were about to be “sold to”

32% responses talked about how the visual made them feel. Out of the 25 responses of this message the majority enjoyed the message. The simplicity allowed their imagination to wonder. Those who didn’t have positive feedback was due to the lack of direction in understanding the message.

Was the main message understood?

52% of the responses said the photo got them excited about enjoying the fall

24% responses said it made them thinking about enjoying the drink with a friend(s)

8% were skeptical that they were about to be “sold” to

What was missing?

I think this intrigued me the most. Although advertising can be tricky because most people seem annoyed by it. When presented with a delectable, inviting treat most of the respondents were disappointed with the lack of branding.

24% thought compelling wording such as “try me” or the available release date of Starbucks notorious pumpkin spice late.

13% said it was missing a theme

13% said it was missing a purpose.

Community Marketing Results:

These were the results I was most looking forward to. As I move away from marketing “to” customers, to marketing “with” customers I was generously curious if people even care if they get a role in the Marketing process for the chance to make positive change to the community as a whole. Results were interesting, take a look.

57% said it’s important to them that business treats them well

46% said they are very loyal to companies they connect with on a personal level

61% felt strong about wishing companies listed to what they think

53% stated they purchase based on friends advice

53% stated they make purchases based on their feelings

52% were millennials

48% think it’s important for a brand to consider their opinion concerning products

24% sometimes it’s important

28% said it’s not important

Where it gets really interesting…

88% said they companies are hardly inclined to listen to opinions on change/improvement

73% continue to try even knowing they understand they will probably be ignored

50% submitted ideas to companies on ideas to change.  ½ of them were ignored ½ of them listed but did think customer input warranted change.

This tells me 1 thing. Companies spend WAY too much money on implementing a “good idea” and doesn’t put nearly enough towards figuring out customer’s needs. Customers are becoming savvy with how they shop, and I don’t mean they’re just looking for the best deal. They are making purchases based on the principles of the communities that are building around a product and will drop you like a bad habit. Even if you do have a really cool 25% off coupon.

Curious. How do you plan to use this data?

The only way to get good at solving problems is to solve them. –Seth Godin


3 thoughts on “How to get your online Community Marketing for you

  1. Hi, Sarah!

    Thanks for your insightful comments and research! You received some great feedback that shed light on how companies need to successfully reach their market.

    Visually stimulating campaigns are essential to most successful advertisement. People do enjoy engaging colors and graphics, and those graphics may entice people to buy or talk about a product or service. Starbucks does a good job of keeping their colors within a tasteful color scheme – those colors match the moods of the consumer.

    Good analysis – thanks for sharing!


  2. I took this survey and was interested in the results. I’m likely one of the few who isn’t a Starbucks fan so I neither recognized the image or the brand. That said, I reviewed your results and find them consistent with my survey experience. I noticed that many people recognized the brand immediately and felt a strong sense of brand loyalty with this verbal cue. I agreed with the 54% of respondents that the image signified the fall season. For me, what was missing was a central theme – this felt more like something from a recipe blog than an ad for pumpkin spice coffee. I just didn’t see the connection. In reviewing the result, 65% of respondents connected the image to Starbucks. Can you clarify whether this was an actual Starbucks ad? The image posts to a blog post with the recipe, but you mention its Starbucks. Your survey asks: “Was the main message understood?” but I did not find a majority answer on this so I’m not clear on what the ad was intended for.

    I think your mention of marketing with consumers instead of to consumers is a great way to approach advertising. In fact, your data supports my opinion with 61% of your respondents feeling strongly about companies listening to what they think and 46% who admit to staying loyal to companies who connect with them on a personal level. Whatever the season, it’s clear it’s important that we listen to our publics and give them what they want – pumpkin spice and everything nice.
    Thanks for the post.


  3. Hello Sarah!
    A very appropriate survey topic and a really cool way to execute your objectives. Visual cues have so much impact on marketing and I am happy to see you explore these with your participants. You statement that, “(consumers) are making purchases based on the principles of the communities that are building around a product” really connects social media marketing and advertising for me. On one side you have commercials and other forms of advertisements advocating for while also building awareness of the brand (product, service or cause). On the other side of the spectrum, you have the social media marketing component that in addition to social listening and trend following, is also the greatest opportunity to building community engagement. You had great questions and though it was a decent sample size, it can grow into future avenues of knowledge for our field. Great job!


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